“1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem of some kind each year in England.”
A pretty sobering stat when you think about it and one that is only set to further rise as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to hugely impact so many lives.
With so many people struggling, 2022 looks set to be the year where additional support is needed more than ever. But with a lack of open dialogue about what Counselling or Therapy actually looks like, this can feel a scary step to take. We want to open up the conversation about real-world experiences to help.
I’ve struggled with anxiety since I was tiny. My poor mum often reminds me how whilst my sister, friends or cousin would be thrilled at the idea of a ‘surprise’ or a ‘mystery’ I’d be in the corner, with a tummy-ache, asking fifty-seven questions. At times it’s been okay, it’s been terrible and it’s been everything in between but after a pretty shocking couple of years (not just me, I’m sure!) I knew I’d reached the point where I needed a little extra help.
Here’s what I wish I’d known before I started the process:
Nothing ‘big’ needs to have happened for you to need help.
Personally, this was the hardest thing for me to accept. It’s very easy to convince yourself that help is only deserved by those who’ve experienced ‘real’ problems – loss, trauma, illness, etc. But that is a lie. Anyone can need help at any point. Whether you’ve faced huge upheaval or you’re simply struggling with the absolute everyday, your counsellor isn’t going to judge you or the size of your problems. Instead, they’ll listen to what’s happening with you and help to curate strategies that will make your life feel more manageable; whatever is or isn’t going on.
You have to go back to go forward.
Cliché because it’s true – once you start to open up about your feelings it’s common to feel worse. What?! Look, we know. It feels like the final kick, right? But actually, when you consider that you’re likely bringing up painful memories or dealing with emotions that have been pushed down for far too long, it does make sense. Lean on your counsellor and know that it’s absolutely part of the process and it will become easier in time.